Living on the top floor has some disadvantages. One of them is the danger of water damage. Some time ago we began noticing some water stains in a corner of my home studio. The stains spread and soon enough the whole wall was completely soaked. We got some work done on the roof and the problem seemed to be resolved. Unfortunately, the inside damage remained. The plaster had rotted and had to be replaced.
So, last December, we got some workers to come replace the plaster and paint the room. I tried doing it myself at first, but I soon realised the job required a professional.
Since I had to put everything back, I figured it was time to do it right. I decided to make it, not just tidier, but prettier as well. I made a Pinterest board with a ton of ideas and started to plan.
I painted the inside of the bookshelves with a light turquoise paint. At first I tried using vinyl instead of paint but I didn’t like the result so I went with water based enamel paint.
My favorite thing in all the studios I had pinned was the pegboard. I bought two of them at first but ended up with three. It takes up most of the wall over the desks. Having my tools and materials right there in front of me makes the creative process much more efficient and cleanup much faster. I painted the metal pegboards the same colour as the shelves.
Above the pegboards there’s a long shelf that is perfect for displaying my jewellery.
I thought about what I wanted to store in each box and where it would be more practical to store each one. What I use more frequently is right behind my chair and the boxes that serve as storage for less used materials are stored on the top shelves, where I have to get up to reach them. The bottom shelves were reserved for books and other reference materials.
Some of the boxes are used so often that I hardly ever replace their lids, so I chose to leave them open permanently.
Some colouful materials, like markers, buttons or washi tape I put on display, where I can see them. I like being surrounded by colour.
I picked out the size of the boxes according to what I needed to keep inside. The camera equipment box is large, the boxes for the stamp ink pads are low and stackable. Adjusting the box size to the content is very important for efficient storage so you don’t waste necessary space. I also labeled all the boxes so I know what is in each one.
Inside two small drawer blocks I keep glue, ecoline, gouache, rulers, etc. In the top drawer of a drawer module on wheels that I keep under my desk I have office equipment. I cut cereal boxes to make containers for the smaller elements like post-its, staples, and so on, instead of tossing it all in the drawer at random.
In the middle drawer I keep paperwork – bills, letters. On the bottom drawer I have A3 paper and projects of previous work and what I’m working on at the moment.
A4 cardstock is kept in magazine holders, organised by colour. Larger sheets of paper are currently stored on the top shelf of the bookshelf where I have my polymer clay oven, ultrasound machine and tumbler. Smaller bits of paper go in a box next to the embossing folders. They’re usually for cardmaking.
Painting the boxes took the longest. I didn’t think the black boxes I had fit the white and turquoise color scheme at all so I had to do something about it. Unfortunately it was rain season, so painting outside was not an option and I had to paint two or three at a time on top of my table. It took ages!
The desks were the same from before. New desks weren’t on the budget for now. They’re old office desks that were left over from our defunct company and I’ve been using them ever since. I placed the computer and printers on the smaller desk, right in front of the door. That allows me to have a long table in the middle of the room to work on my projects. I can have several things going at once without the need to put everything away in order to switch to something else. It’s particularly handy when I need to let paint dry and can do something else while I wait.
The desks are pretty deep so I placed my sizzix, iron and sewing machine at the back, against the wall, and still have plenty of table surface to work on.
Close to the window I have a smaller desk with a rolling mill followed by an improvised jeweller’s bench. It was a chest of drawers that had the right height. I removed the top drawer to attach the bench pin and use the second drawer to keep my tools as I work and gather metal when filing and sawing. I still need to cut a steel sheet to cover the wood but the rest works pretty well.
Behind the chair in this area is where I keep my gemstones in little drawers.
In this way I have four separate craft areas along the room: computer/office, scrapbooking/cardmaking, sewing and jewellery making. Behind each area I store the corresponding materials.
I’ve made a few projects since organising the space in this way and I have to say that I’m very pleased with the result. It’s great to have a place for everything and being able to put everything back in a tidy box when I’m done. Most of the time I don’t even have to get out of my chair.
I’ve been slowly trying to extend this organisation kick to the rest of the apartment and I’ve already done some small changes, like creating a drawer for craft materials for the kids and another for their activity books. I also put up hooks for the kitchen towels that were always hanging from cabinet door knobs. It takes time but little by little we move forward.
I still want to build a platform to lift the printers so I can store the laptop underneath, thus clearing extra table surface where the kids can do their homework while I’m working. And there are a few things to hang on the wall, like the cork board and a few frames. But these are just details and in the meantime I can get to work again. That’s all that matters.